Jewish Values: The Blood Lie

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224 p.
A true but little-known incident that occurred in a small upstate New York town in 1928 is the subject of this historical fiction work for young adults. A blood libel took place in Massena, New York when a young Christian girl disappeared from her home, and the town’s rabbi was questioned by police about whether Jews practiced human sacrifice. Jack, the young man accused of the crime, is a bright and talented young Jewish musician who is infatuated with the missing girl’s older sister. The romantic side story between these two teens (and the fact that they know theirs is a forbidden relationship) adds more interest for contemporary readers.The evolution how an anti-Semitic lie spread throughout this community is convincingly portrayed in this story. Vernick conveys a fine sense of social history regarding the adaptation of first generation Jews to American life in the early twentieth century. The troubling issues that the book raises are sure to give readers a sense of the fragility of Jewish-Christian relations and the challenges posed by ignorance.
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Sydney Taylor Winner: